[quote:376t47d7]Hi i was wondering if anyone could tell me the traditions of catholic deaths and funerals. How it is handled by the family and what happens in a funeral service etc THANK YOU[/quote:376t47d7]
Here is a brief Q&A I found that has basic info for you. If you need more detail I can get it out of the Roman Misal when I’m back home, out of town at school this week.
[b:376t47d7]First Preference: Funeral rites with the Body present[/b:376t47d7]
The Church holds up as normative the rites contained in its ritual book The Order of Christian Funerals. Normally these rites include: a Vigil Service celebrated in the funeral home or the church, the Funeral Liturgy itself, and the Rite of Committal of the body at the cemetery. Despite being valuable expressions of faith, the rosary and other traditions are not to replace the Vigil for the Deceased. However, it would be acceptable that these devotions are celebrated in addition to the Vigil Service.
It is the Church’s preference that the body of the deceased be present for the Vigil Service. In addition, the body of the deceased should be brought to the local parish church for the Funeral mass. Funeral Masses are not permitted in funeral homes or cemetery chapels.
The Rite of Committal of the body normally takes place at the cemetery although the committal can be done at the end of the Funeral Mass. The body of the deceased is to be interred, either in the ground or in a crypt following the Funeral Mass.
[b:376t47d7]Second Preference: Funeral rites with the body present and cremation afterwards[/b:376t47d7]
When the choice has been made to cremate a body, it is recommended that the cremation take place after the Funeral Liturgy. In this case, the Vigil for the Deceased and related rites and prayers should be celebrated in the presence of the body. Then, the body should be brought to the parish church for the Funeral Liturgy with cremation taking place afterwards.
After cremation of the body, the cremated remains should be committed for burial according to the Order of Christian Funerals. The cremated remains should be treated with the same respect given to the human body. Therefore, they should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium (but not a common/communal columbarium). This is the reverent disposition of the cremated remains that the Church requires.
[b:376t47d7]Third Preference: Funeral rites with the cremated remains present.[/b:376t47d7]
While the Church has granted the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy, including Mass, in the presence of the cremated remains of the deceased it is considered the least desirable of the options. The Church strongly prefers that the body of the deceased be present for its funeral rites since the presence of the body clearly recalls the life and death of the person.
Realizing that the practice of cremation is being chosen for a variety of reasons, including economy and practicality, often cremation has occurred before the funeral rites. When this does happen, the Vigil for the deceased may be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains. Likewise, the cremated remains may be brought to church for the celebration of the Funeral Mass.
[b:376t47d7]Q. Why doesn’t the Church allow cremated remains to be scattered or kept in a home?[/b:376t47d7]
A. The Church believes cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given the human body from which they come. If cremated remains are not treated with honor and dignity, cremation can allow for disrespect of the human body. Scattering the ashes deprives loved ones and descendants of the opportunity to visit the remains where they can pray and reflect upon the life and memory of the deceased. Dividing the cremated remains among family and friends or keeping them in the home seems to diminish the respect for human life and shows a lack of proper respect and dignity for the dead.